Paralegals are some of the most hard working and talented people in the legal industry.
Paralegal programs from The Center for Legal Studies and other institutions teach you about topics, skills, and knowledge that are unique to the legal field. You also get to learn certain skills exclusive to your field, such as Shepardizing. These and other special knowledge and skills are what make paralegals different.
More than analytical and comprehension skills, however, another important aspect of any legal education are your personality and habits. Soft skills, particularly the non-legal ones, often play a big part in helping you succeed as a paralegal in the real world.
Clients all too often get emotional. Sometimes they are angry, sometimes they cry, while other times, they are scared to death. Unfortunately, some of the brightest legal minds are not good at client relations.
As a paralegal, it often falls upon your shoulders to hold the client’s hands and walk them through the legal process. Empathizing with a client shows that legal professionals are humans, too.
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Certain studies even show that a client’s satisfaction with their attorney has to do more with how they were treated than the outcome of their case.
The Tech Geek
Small and medium law firms, especially the private practice, have no IT departments. Paralegals who can prove to be the go-to geek almost often becomes a valuable firm asset. A few Word and Excel tricks, as well as skills in web design, photography, journalism, graphic design, photography, and more can prove to be useful in the legal sector.
Being able to work and fix the copy machine and other office equipment can also provide additional job security, even just a little.
The Note Taker
Shorthand and touch-typing are two of the most practical skills that are applicable in almost any field. Having the ability to take detailed, accurate shorthand notes and being able to type at a faster pace could make you the key person in handling paperwork and writing briefs.
Soft skills are always important in any dynamic workplace, and are always in high demand. Combine these with your legal skills and training, and you’ll definitely stand out as a paralegal who can handle more than just clerical work.